A Carrying Party It's damn the wet Frog-weather; it's damn the cold- foot guide, It's damn the "Sub" in charge and damn the war; It's stumble, fall, and blunder, and wish you were down under; And damn the mate who wonders: "How far more?" You'd ditch your load and beat it, but don't know where to go; The guide is groping, lost, and wand'ring round; There's rebellion in your heart but the "Sub" he knows his part; He neither answers back nor hears a sound. The U Frame cuts your shoulder or the bath-mat breaks your back; You whimper out with rage when you go down; You're weary past conceiving and tired beyond believing; And the holes are almost deep enough to drown. The battered trench is cluttered; you hear a dead man -- sq-ush! Your profanity turns near akin to prayer; But your every muscle aches and control it nearly breaks And you'd bless the Fritz that laid you peaceful there! The mud is to your arm-pits; the slime seeps to your heart; You're sobbing, mumbling out as down you go! "Go slow ahead, you blighters!" --and they call us Noble Fighters -- But like a fool you're up and on you go! The line is disconnected; you curse them when you're joined; The fitful black is loud with crimson spurt; But at last you dump your load --and all back the homeward road Your secret mind is storing one more hurt. --Kim Beattie From And You! Toronto: MacMillan, 1929. Pages 36-37.
“U-frame”: In the photo below one sees four “A-frames”. The duckboards are suppported by the cross piece of the “A”. A “U frame” is essentially the same thing, but without the cross piece; they are merely a support for duckboards to sit on. Theoretically, the area underneath the duckboards allows for drainage.
“Bath-mat” is slang for “bath-mat duckboards.” I’m not sure if these are duckboards that are connected by rope (as a bath mat would be) or simply a pre-fab section of duckboards.